A Good Year and the intoxication of Provence

Dinner table scene in Ridley Scott’s A Good Year, based on the Peter Mayle book

A Good Year is probably not a movie people will readily associate with Ridley Scott, or remember him by, but it’s a movie that does a remarkable job of creating a sense of mood and atmosphere. When Russell’s Crowe’s character Max, walks through his uncle’s sun-drenched vineyard, the old swimming pool, the gardens, you get a wonderful sense of place and a palpable feeling of the land.
That candelit dinner scene was also really well played out.

In a recent Anthony Bourdain episode where he goes to Provence and has this incredible meal of handmade, pungent garlic aoili, with boiled potatoes, fennel, carrots, and lightly baked fish, he says (slightly callously) “This is classic poor people’s food.” His host, gets slightly indignant and replies, “Yes, but in Provence, everybody was poor.” The resourcefulness and ingenuity of Provencal cooks to take simple farm produce, seafood and poultry and flavor them with local herbs and pair them with incredible locally produced wines, is so outstanding that the style of cooking is replicated almost everywhere in the world.



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